Résumés are not the first thought that comes to mind when considering tutorship in writing. But writing resumes (I’ll go a little wild and write “résumés” without the accents) demands a very particular style and vocabulary; more so than most writing tasks, you need someone to “show you the ropes” when writing a resume. My cultural informant for this particular style was an RA down the hall who became a good friend. She showed all the best attitudes of a writing tutor, whether working on a job application document or an analytic essay. She did what Muriel Harris in “Talking in the Middle” calls “assisting with affective concerns”—addressing the stress and self-doubt that are often at the root of problems with writing. In addition to discussing issues of verb choice, organization, and formatting, her “tutorial assistance [gave me] confidence about [myself] and [my] writing” and her “encouragement result[ed] in increased motivation to continue expending effort on a paper” (35).
My RA and friend set a good example for how to ease affective concerns while working with a writer on any type of assignment. We can look to reassure writers that, yes, their points come across clearly and that, no, they do not sound stupid. I think this cheerleader function can indeed increase the writer’s commitment to their work and inspire them to revise and edit with less stress and more interest. This attitude of encouragement aids in our project of improving writers rather than merely polishing papers; we empower them to improve the paper at hand, and to write with more confidence and comfort in the future.